During the SMART4SEA Virtual Forum, Panel 2 focused on game changer technologies, with shipping showing an increased interest in blockchain, virtual reality, AI and other revolutionary technologies such as 3D printers.
irstly, the panelists talked about best practices shipping has seen with how new technologies can apply to the sector. According to Markus Wenig, Team Leader, Autonomous Systems, WinGD, one of the best practices would be to be able to detect anomalies. Such a measure is beneficial for the development of detection algorithms, that enhance security and can lead to reduced cost.
In addition, Iason Zaharioudakis, Operational Technology & Energy Manager, Latsco Marine Management Inc, mentioned that shipping must identify its needs and trigger new technologies, rather than “taking an existing technology of another sector and trying to adopt it in the maritime industry.”
In this aspect, Mr Zaharioudakis noted that shipping is a follower: “We have technology regarding fuel cells, we are using hydrogen and ammonia in the application at shore but we are at the very beginning steps in maritime industry.”
However, despite best practices, barriers exist and can cause significant issues. According to Sanjeev Namath, Chief Business Officer, Alpha Ori Technologies Pte “one of the key barrier that we see is the standardization of the data.”
As for Mr. Zaharioudakis, he believes that data integrity is crucial, but in order to be utilized best “we need large volume of data.” As he explained, the main point is the accuracy and liability of the data, as “if we fit the machine learning model with data that are not accurate then the result will not be beneficial.”
At the same wavelength, Andreas Chrysostomou, Chief Strategy Officer, Tototheo Maritime, mentioned that shipping needs digital tools, which could also help in reducing carbon footprint. Nevertheless, he noted that “we have no clarity for these fuels and the new technologies, as they are so young and we cannot rely on them.”
In addition, Mr. Wenig added that digital transformation comes with organization and cultural transformation and there is a need for a new type of engineers, as shipping does not just need a normal data scientist, but “more like a mechanically infused data.”
Taking the above into consideration, the panel was then asked to share their views on how to solve these issues, and accelerate the adoption of new, alternative technologies. For Mr. Zaharioudakis, the need to standardize and improve the data is of vital importance, explaining that while vessels are being fed with large volume of data, the outcome is not accurate because of the lack of reliability.
According to the panel, people in shipping must realize that the cost is minimal in comparison to the benefit, while regulation is a key driver for accelerating the adoption of new technology. However, Sanjeev Namath, Chief Business Officer, Alpha Ori Technologies Pte expressed that he is “not particularly happy with the rate of adoption. It can be much more.”
The goal of 2050 is to get away as far as possible for fossil fuels and the only way to do it is to use Optimization processes
believes Mr. Chrysostomou
Nonetheless, challenges remain, and the worrying fact is that many of them do not have answers yet. Sharing his opinion on the matter, Mr. Wenig said that maritime should focus more on technologies that may revolutionize decarbonization and support the sector in its journey.
We have to think out of the box and start thinking that the dirty oil is not the fuel that we are going to use after 2030 for example
said Mr. Zaharioudakis.
Continuing, the four panelists commented on what technologies may have the best use by 2030, with Mr. Chrysostomou focusing on big data, which have “tremendous prospect.”
Mr. Zaharioudakis agreed with that opinion, also adding that machine learning is important because, provided that it is fed with reliable data, it can help shipping move from a plan maintenance system to continuous based maintenance.
Finally, without a doubt, digitalization in shipping is becoming more and more of a trend. As Mr. Wenig mentioned combining blockchain with Internet of Things, the sector can leverage better “big data and then use AI to make use of this data.”
I do believe that the period from this present condition to a more green operational profile of the vessel will take a large period. 2030 is very close to us and actions must be taken towards to the correct direction very soon
stated Mr. Zaharioudakis.
As for automaton within shipping, the panelists expect that it will be a reality in short term first. “I think technology wise we are there, it is a matter of trust and regulation now,” Mr. Wenig concluded.